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XFL vs. NFL; What Is The Difference Between The Leagues

We all love football…but for different reasons. Some are attracted to the sheer physicality of the beautiful game, the incredible strength, and endurance displayed by the players week in week out. Some love the mental aspect of the game while the tactics and strategy of the coaching staffs is a source of joy for some fans.

However, if you anything like us, it is the pure emotion that keeps you asking for more. We feel the joy of every win and the pain of every defeat. We love the drama, we love the commotion.

The National Football League or as we all call it, The NFL, has been providing us with entertaining football for almost a century. The Super Bowl is a game no one wants to miss. We’ve established that NFL entertains us a lot, but is there room for more entertainment? the XFL thinks so.

The XFL is a professional football league that plans to provide more entertainment by increasing on-field actions. The league made its debut in 2001 and ran for only one season.

But XFL is set for a comeback in 2020 with some modifications to the initial launch. XFL will still be football as we know it with 11 vs 11, 100 yard field with 10 yard ends zones, scoring via touchdowns and field goals but with more in game rhythm and on field action.

The modifications to XFL has led to differences between the league and NFL. What are the differences? We discuss them below.

The Number Of Teams

The NFL has 32 teams divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The champions of the NFC and AFC compete in the Super Bowl.
XFL will contain only 8 teams in each conference owned by the league and spread across the States in markets currently or recently represented by an NFL franchise.

Season’s Format And Time Of Play During The Year

The NFL’s season always kickoff in September and ends in December. Playoffs are played in January of the following year. The NFL season format consists of a four-week preseason, a seventeen-week regular season and a twelve-team single-elimination playoff culminating in the Super Bowl, the league’s championship game.

One of the reasons behind the creation of XFL was to provide football for fans when the NFL is offseason. So the XFL season should be between February and September when there is no NFL football. The XFL season being the week after the Super Bowl and include a ten-game season and two-week postseason.

The Over Time Rules

The overtime rules of the two leagues differ a lot. NFL has installed a modified sudden death system to decide the winner in a tie game. If the team possessing the ball first score a field goal, the other team is given one possession to win with a touchdown or continue playing by scoring a field goal.

In preseason and regular season games in the NFL, only one 10-minute overtime is played and games may end in a tie. However, postseason games cannot end in a tie and 15-minute overtime are played repeatedly until a winner is determined.

Overtime in XFL will be decided by multiple-round shootout of one-point conversions similar to a penalty shootout in soccer. Each offense and defense will line up at opposite ends of the field[to save time] and receive five opportunities at a 2-point conversion. If the defense forces a turnover, they score one point for their team. There will be five rounds of shootout each and the team with the most point at the end a set of shootout wins and a tie means the shootout continues.

The Kickoff Rules

The NFL’s kickoff rules have been modified. Under the new rules, five players on the kicking team must line up on each side of the kicker. They must line up within one yard of the 35-yard line, meaning that they no longer can get a running start. Eight of the 11 players on the receiving team must line up between 10 and 25 yards from the spot of the kickoff.

XFL will also have kickoffs which will be attempted by five yards, and the two teams will not be allowed to cross the neutral zones until the returning team touches the ball. It is possible that the kickoff spot will be moved to the kicking team’s 15-yard line as opposed to the NFL’s 35-yard line. More about XFL’s kickoff rules will be known with time.

League Ownership

NFL at the corporate level can be considered to be owned and financed by its teams. Individuals or organizations can own an NFL team.

XFL is owned by Alpha’s Entertainment, a company founded by Vince McMahon, the pioneer of XFL. All XFL’s eight teams are owned by the league.

XFL will also differ from NFL in officiating rules. Some XFL rules are yet to be clarified but more will be known about the league’s rules before its launch in February of 2020.

Clock Changes

The NFL game clock stops when there is a change in possession, video reviews of controversial calls, penalties, three time-outs per side where they can tactically choose to stop the clock and a break with two minutes remaining at the end of each half. The play clock is 40 timed from the end of the previous down.

The XFL clock will run continuously outside the two-minute drill and would only stop during a change of possession. Four time-outs will be given to each team in a half, as opposed to NFL’s three. Also, the play clock will be 30 seconds long measured from the end of the previous play, the shortest of any football league and instant replay reviews will be limited to 30 seconds.

Length Of The Game

NFL games last an hour, split into four 15-minute quarters. However, this only tells half the story, with the average game taking 3 hours and 12 minutes to complete. The stoppage of NFL’s game clock explained above is the reason for the long length of NFL games.

XFL games would be completed under two hours and the league may eliminate halftime to speed up games.

Punt Halo Rule

During NFL punts, the player attempting to catch the kicked ball may attempt a fair catch. If the kicked ball is blocked and fails to cross the line of scrimmage, it may be picked up and advanced by either team. Also, Under no circumstance can the kicking team score points as the direct result of a punt.

XFL have eliminated fair catches on punts and any punt traveling more than 25 yards will be a live ball recoverable by either team. Also, punt returners will be protected in the form of a five-yard protective “halo” by potential tacklers until the punt is caught, and members of the kicking team will not be able to release from the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked.

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